Solemn words and soaring voices rose from the shadows of quiet thoughts and heart-worn memories to honor lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, as about 200 Ridgefielders gathered off Route 35 Monday evening at the twisted beam of twin towers steel that rises into the sky, the town\u2019s 9\/11 memorial. \u201cThis is the 16th year, believe it or not,\u201d First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. \u201cFor the 16 years, we\u2019ve had the Weeks family.\u201d Year after year, Tommy or Molly Weeks would play at the ceremony. This year both brother and sister played, a saxophone duet, the voices of the jazz instruments mellow, trembling, through the Battle Hymn of the Republic, then God Bless the U.S.A. Marconi thanked public officials he\u2019d noticed attending: Selectwoman Barbara Manners, Police Commissioners George Kane, Tom Reynolds and Marcie Coffin, Marty Heiser of the Board of Finance. State Senator Toni Boucher was expected, as well. The Ridgefield Police Department Honor Guard and Ridgefield Fire Department Color Guard marched in, a long line led by Piper Tom Elliott, taking places in a semicircle behind the monument. Evelyn Carr sang the Star Spangled Banner, unaccompanied. \u201cGod of creation,\u201d intoned the Rev. Joseph Prince of St. Elizabeth Seton Roman Catholic Church, giving the invocation, \u201cyou created all of us in your image \u2026 \u201cWe lift to you in prayer all those who died in the twin towers, at the Pentagon, and on United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.\u201d He sought help for those who remain, grieving, \u201cnot to fall into the trap of blaming entire ethnic groups or religions for acts of hostility.\u201d And he asked for guidance \u201cto love, not to hate\u2026 to seek restorative justice, instead of revenge.\u201d Marconi asked those gathered to applaud members of the Ridgefield Fire and Police Departments \u201cand some special people, the American Legion, who gave of their time and life to serve this nation.\u201d The Ridgefield Chorale, led by Daniela Sikora, sang of \u201cFreedom\u2019s seeds in sorrow sown, \u2019neath blades of grass and pure white stones.\u201d Rabbi David Reiner of Congregation Shir Shalom offered the reflection. With news headlines all about the hurricane in the south, he said, he\u2019d thought of Irving Berlin\u2019s God Bless America \u2014 the opening lines that lead into the famous chorus: \u201cWhile the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to a land that\u2019s free; Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as raise our voices in a solemn prayer: God bless America, land that I love\u2026\u201d Natural disasters inevitably assault the nation, but Rabbi Reiner said that in discussing 9\/11 with young people he recalled earlier \u201cunnatural disasters\u201d that left parents groping to explain why lives were taken senselessly and violently \u2014 at Pearl Harbor, in the assassination of President John Kennedy. But human hearts should dwell forever on the worst. \u201cFrom the valley of shadows, I lift up my eyes to the hills,\u201d Rabbi Reiner said. He decried racial and religious prejudice \u2014 \u201cmany senseless acts of violence, because of the color of skin, or the covering on their heads, or the faith in their hearts.\u201d He cited a slightly altered version of \u201cEmil Fackenheim\u2019s 11th commandment: Thou shalt not grant terrorists a posthumous victory\u201d by descending to their level \u2014 fighting, hating, killing \u2014 people must seek continuity through love, and by \u201cremaining steadfast in our resolve to secure the blessings of liberty...\u201d He recalled President George Washington\u2019s words on religious freedom and tolerance in a 1790 letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island: \u201c... the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens.\u201d America, Rabbi Reiner said, is a land that welcomes many religions and beliefs, \u201cmen and women, gay and straight \u2026 immigrants legal, and illegal ... dreamers and doers of every color and hue.\u201d The nation is true to itself, he said, \u201cwhen we live out our values, when we declare persecution and hatred have no place in our midst.\u201d Piper Tom Elliott played Amazing Grace, and the Ridgefield Chorale sang again. First Selectman Marconi remembered four among the 3,000 lives lost that day: \u201cTyler Ugolyn, Joe Heller, Chris Blackwell, Robert Higley \u2014 all connected to Ridgefield, that we lost on Sept, 11, 2001,\u201d Marconi said. Joe Heller and Tyler Ugolyn worked in the office towers that fell that day. Heller left a wife and children here. Ugolyn, an RHS basketball star who\u2019d graduated from Columbia and recently started a promising new job, left grieving parents in town. Chris Blackwell and Robert Higley were firemen. Higley left a wife and in-laws in Ridgefield. Chris Blackwell had many friends in the Ridgefield Fire Department from working in Ridgefield for Danbury Paramedic, which those days provided paramedics to assist the firefighter-EMTs in Ridgefield ambulances. Others were lost. John Williamson, a firefighter, was the son of a Ridgefielder. Bud and Dee Flagg, and Barbara Edwards, all former Ridgefielders, were killed on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. So many other thousands: husbands, wives, sons, daughters, colleagues, lovers, friends \u2014 \u00a0people. In the audience, Marty Heiser, a member of Ridgefield\u2019s finance board, carried a photo of a young man: Boyan Kostic, a Serbian who played basketball at Northwestern College in Iowa and, in 1994, took work with Heiser\u2019s company, Services Unlimited, painting buildings in suburban New York and Connecticut. \u201cBoyan jumped at the chance to come to the New York area and worked for Service Unlimited for five years,\u201d Heiser said later. \u201cAfter that he worked as a maitre\u2019d at the Tavern on the Green, a fitness instructor, and put himself through the MBA program at Baruch College. He landed a job on Wall Street and was working for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 98th floor of north tower on 9-11\u2026\u201d The Rev. P.J. Leopold, a Ridgefielder who is the executive director of Danbury\u2019s Association of Religious Communities, gave the benediction. \u201cWho here, that\u2019s of age, can remember exactly where you were?\u201d she asked. Many hands went up. \u201c...Remember seeing a fireman running into the blaze? \u201cWe remember,\u201d she said, \u201c \u2026 people we lost, from all over, and Ridgefield.\u201d She added, \u201cat the same time, we want to move forward.\u201d She asked that we move forward on \u201cthe high road\u201d \u2014 not the dark road. \u201cWe will not return revenge with revenge,\u201d she said. \u201cWe will not return evil with evil.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s not a very long road, We don\u2019t have that much time to make that much difference,\u201d Leopold said. \u201c...Take down the wall, in faith and hope\u2026\u201d And as is now traditional in Ridgefield\u2019s annual 9\/11 ceremonies, as the evening sky darkened people waited in line to place white roses before the spire of twisted steel, the monument to lives still remembered.